The largest destination in both the South American and the Latin American regions, and with a population of more than 200 million, Brazil is a vast destination ranking 5th in the world by geographical area and also by the amount of people that live in that nation. It has the 9th largest economy by nominal GDP and is a developing nation with plenty of natural resources, while relying on its energy and manufacturing sectors to close the competitiveness gap with the rest of the BRIC economies.
Brazil is a pioneer in Medical Tourism. Brazil was the first country with an institution outside the United States to be accredited by the Joint Commission International in 1999 when the program was launched and now has 43 JCI accredited hospitals and institutions. Medical tourism to Brazil is expected to grow 45% in the next five years, benefiting from the country’s investment in infrastructure, hotels and airports and the influx of international visitors as Brazil hosts major international events including the World Cup in 2015 and Olympics in 2016.
With a booming economy, the country is making major investments in its infrastructure and tourism, Brazilian authorities are trying to showcase the country in a successful light and working hard to transform and reinforce the country’s image by turning it into a major tourism destination. This tourism boost will also greatly benefit the medical tourism industry.
Currently the second largest marketplace in the world for cosmetic and plastic surgery, Brazil is a leader in the field with local plastic surgeons possessing outstanding reputations as some of the world’s best. Brazil is also a top medical tourism destination because of its rich culture, wide variety of tourist activities and world-class hospitals and medical facilities. Its attractiveness as a tourism destination is enhanced by its quality and affordable healthcare, friendly and warm people, great food, and paradisiacal beaches.
Approximately 60% of Brazil's hospitals are privately owned, either profit or non-profit, while the remaining 40% percent are public hospitals. And 80% of urban inpatients as well as most medical tourism patients are catered for by privately-owned health facilities. When coming to Brazil for a medical procedure, you are advised to seek care in one of the top private hospitals and clinics, rather than in the public healthcare system.
The country is has 25 hospitals which are accredited by the Joint Commission International and these health facilities are considered among the best in Latin America. Some hospitals are accredited by the Consortium of Brazilian Accreditation and the Brazilian Hospital Medical Quality Organization (ONA) as well as by other regulatory bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Canadian Council on Health Services (CCHSA) and the Commission on Laboratory Accreditation of the College of American Pathologists (CAP).
When it comes to ranking Brazil for its destination environment, its score just got them to 24th place, mainly because of its political situation and economic image as well as for its cultural miss match. The quality of its facilities and services are just bellow average versus other destinations, ranking 23rd, even though plenty of its hospitals are accredited by top line organizations. The strongest item on Brazil’s private healthcare system is the attractiveness of the destination and the cost of its services, which together ranked 12th, taking this South American nation to the 22nd spot on the Medical Tourism Index. Still, there are many things that need to be addressed in order to increase the number of medical tourism patients and position its medical brand around the world. Alternatives are working on a strategy that recertifies its healthcare facilities, better training its staff, including the language barrier and increasing the quality of care in order to boost the industry’s reputation outside the destination. Considering the destination has been the host of two world events like the Soccer World Cup and the Olympic Games, the destination environment factor has a huge potential in the near future. Finally, we can see that the cost and destination attractiveness is the main strength for this Latin-American nation which is really important when trying gain market share in the medical tourism industry.
Common treatments done by medical tourists in Brazil: